Bacterial antigens reduced the inhibition effect of capsaicin on Cal 27 oral cancer cell proliferation

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Oral cancer is a major global health problem with high incidence and low survival rates. The oral cavity contains biofilms as dental plaques that harbour both Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacterial antigens, lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and lipoteichoic acid (LTA), respectively. LPS and LTA are known to stimulate cancer cell growth, and the bioactive phytochemical capsaicin has been reported to reverse this effect. Here, we tested the efficacy of oral cancer chemotherapy treatment with capsaicin in the presence of LPS, LTA or the combination of both antigens. LPS and LTA were administered to Cal 27 oral cancer cells prior to and/or concurrently with capsaicin, and the treatment efficacy was evaluated by measuring cell proliferation and apoptotic cell death. We found that while capsaicin inhibits oral cancer cell proliferation and metabolism (MT Glo assay) and increases cell death (Trypan blue exclusion assay and Caspase 3/7 expression), its anti-cancer effect was significantly reduced on cells that are either primed or exposed to the bacterial antigens. Capsaicin treatment significantly increased oral cancer cells’ suppressor of cytokine signalling 3 gene expression. This increase was reversed in the presence of bacterial antigens during treatment. Our data establish a rationale for clinical consideration of bacterial antigens that may interfere with the treatment efficacy of oral cancer.
Original languageEnglish
Article number8686
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 12 Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2021. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • lipopolysaccharide
  • lipoteichoic acid
  • oral cancer
  • capsaicin
  • proliferation
  • apoptosis
  • proliferation factors
  • suppressor of cytokine signalling 3


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